Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor in this stunning sketch by Rachael Stott.

The BBC’s announcement that Jodie Whittaker – who happens to be female – is to portray The Doctor in the next series of Doctor Who could not have come at a worse time for embattled Tory chancellor Philip Hammond.

All this the day after he was outed for saying in a Cabinet meeting that train driving is so easy, “even a woman” can do it.

This was never – EVER – going to happen: Theresa May as a female Doctor. No, thanks – we’d all rather just eat an apple a day instead [Image: Patrick Blower].

This Writer’s opinion on Mr Hammond’s faux pas (whether he said it or not – he denies it) is already on the record.

As for the new Doctor…

This lifelong fan of the show has no problem with it at all. Doctor Who at its best has always been about how brains beat brute force, and that’s not about to change because a woman is at the helm. In fact, it might bring the show’s ethos into sharp focus.

And let’s face it – a female doctor is no surprise. We’ve only been primed for it since 1980 when, announcing Tom Baker’s retirement, then-producer John Nathan-Turner said he wished the new Doctor the best of luck “whoever he or she is”.

It was a joke at the time – Peter Davison got the job.

So, all things considered, the arrival of Ms Whittaker in the job is long overdue – while also being totally timely.

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